Boris Johnson Flies The Flag In Brussels Summit Debut

Boris Johnson Flies The Flag In Brussels Summit Debut

New Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is making his official debut on the world stage as Britain's "divorce deal" from the EU continues to provoke controversy.

Mr Johnson is attending his first summit of EU foreign affairs ministers in Brussels as the shockwaves from the Brexit vote cause concern across Europe.

As well as the aftermath of the British exit decision, the repercussions of the attempted Turkish coup and the Nice terrorist atrocity are dominating the continent's attention as Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise choice for one of the Cabinet's most high-profile roles takes the helm of British diplomacy.

After Mr Johnson's plane had to make an emergency landing at Luton airport after technical issues emerged, the Foreign Secretary arrived in the EU capital to meet the bloc's high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, on Sunday night.

The 45-minute meeting was described as "warm and productive" and touched on Turkey, Nice and elements of Brexit as Mr Johnson stressed Britain wanted to maintain strong security links with the EU.

The issue of EU migrants rights triggered debate again as "Brexit Minister" David Davis warned a "surge" in immigrants before Britain formally left the EU could lead to new curbs.

Mr Davis, who is in charge of exit arrangements, insisted that a cut-off point might need to be imposed on when newcomers to the country gained full residency rights if the UK's impending withdrawal saw migrant numbers increase.

After a breakfast meeting with US secretary of state John Kerry, Mr Johnson is also expected to have to deal with pressure on the margins of the summit regarding Britain's negotiating stance for its withdrawal.

The attempted Turkish military coup and the crackdown following its failure have caused concern in European capitals as fears emerge it could impact on the EU's deal with Ankara to stem the flow of refugees from the Syrian civil war.

The foreign ministers' summit comes as Mrs May is visiting Wales, which joined England in voting for Brexit, to underline her commitment to withdrawal and the embattled steel industry.

Mrs May is meeting First Minister Carwyn Jones at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff and reaffirming that she will "fully engage" with the Welsh government on Brexit negotiations.

Meanwhile leaders from the North of England are demanding a place at the Brexit negotiating table with the PM.

The leaders of five combined authorities said it was "absolutely vital" the North was heard during negotiations to leave the EU as its population is greater than London's and its economy larger than those of Scotland and Wales.

The summit comes as Brexit emerged as a key issue in the bitter Labour leadership battle as challenger Owen Smith said he wanted any Brexit deal to be put to a second referendum in 18 months.


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